The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

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I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

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I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

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I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

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It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Feeling Down, Finding Goals.

I actually managed to get the first draft of the story I had been working on for the UbiquiCity project right on the deadline. The conversation I had with the team that day (despite technical issues) was awesome. I’m also pleased to have a chance to include a character I originally created for Hermes925 in the rewrite, Mr Waddle. Yay.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like writing Hermes925. I was even beginning to write the story, and get into the mind of the ratkin character that’s telling this part of the story. Formulate the details as write. That lovely feeling of ‘flow’ when the story takes form as the pen zips across the page. Then it stalled as another feeling I’ve been battling with (again) began tapping on the inside of my skull for attention.

I’m writing this out because I don’t want to. I’m not sure it will help, but holding it all in certainly doesn’t. I haven’t really held it in. Some of my friends know already and I talked about some of it in a previous article.

I found out when I was married that I could never have kids. I think this may have had a lot to do with the decline of the relationship. When you know you can’t have children, sex begins to seem pointless. It’s fun, but that’s all. I still got horny, but when I saw my wife I just felt guilty, and oddly dishonest. I couldn’t deliver on the implied promise. Sex is a vital part of the biological imperative to reproduce, but I can’t reproduce.

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These feelings are a boner killer. It’s hard to stay aroused when you just want to apologise repeatedly for not being able to continue the bloodline. That no matter how hard you try, you’ll never see a child that shares your DNA. The entire relationship began to feel like a waste of time. There were other elements too but my inability to perform was a huge factor. Especially since I hadn’t fully processed why it was I was losing interest and looked for reasons in her.

I didn’t deal with it as well as I could have. When we broke up I had a series of relationships that all started great, and reassured me that I could actually perform, which also exaggerated my misbelief that it had been my ex’s fault that I couldn’t before. However, in each relationship, there came a point when I would start to lose interest again. Each time I came up with an ego-friendly reason why the relationship failed, though I think now that it was just me and my stupid fucking complex.

I think it’s happening again, but this time I can’t find a fault with my girlfriend. She’s lovely, and she makes me smile and feel appreciated. She deserves much better than a man who can’t even keep it up.  Especially since I know she wants children one day. I don’t know what to do. I’ve already told her some of this. She even knew about my fickle libido going into the relationship.

She’s good at helping me take my mind off it, cheering me up, and making me giggle. Sadly, cheering up doesn’t make the issue go away. It would be easy to blame depression, but the more I explore my downs, the more I learn about myself. In most cases, I can resolve the issue fairly simply (such as when I quit the previous bar job), however, I’m at a loss with this one.

The obvious, and cold, heartless answer, would be to break up with my girlfriend and quit wasting her time. Let her go while she’s young enough to find happiness with someone else. After all, I promised myself that the writing comes first, and I do spend a lot of time with her. The problem is that I really enjoy spending time with her. I love her.

I know from experience that love isn’t enough. There was to be more to a relationship than having a good time in each other’s company. I’m not sure what I bring to the table, besides it being cheaper to rent a place together and easier to save up with two of you working. I suppose I do have that writer thing going for me, but that’s not making me much money yet. I am far from the fame I’m aiming for.

Am I willing to sacrifice a beautiful, loving friend to do it? Do I really have a choice when keeping her around would be condemning her to a life with me? A life in which I was willing to risk everything to achieve the dream of being a world-famous author? Will I make fewer risks when someone I care about could get hurt? Will I be forever remembered as an absolute asshole if I choose to be alone for the sake of my writing?

How will I ever achieve my dream if I’m not willing to give up everything to do it? How can I give up her when she makes me so happy? How can I keep her though when I can’t give her what she wants most? She says we can adopt but it’s not the same. Especially when raising someone else’s children will give me even less time and energy to commit to my writing.

But maybe, and this is a brand new thought. Just occurring to me right now as I’m typing. Maybe if I raise adopted kids well, and encourage them to follow their passions, they will be able to achieve the dream I’m seeking. Perhaps that will be my legacy. Not to be a success myself, but to see others I care about succeed? Be truly willing to sacrifice everything, even my own dream, to leave a much better legacy? To make the lives of others better. It doesn’t matter that they’re not blood.

It doesn’t matter that they won’t be my blood. My readers and fans wouldn’t be either. I’d be giving people, at least two but maybe two boys and a girl (just like my ex-wife said I would have one day), a chance to improve their lives the way my parents did for me. I’m going to need my girlfriend’s help for that.

I would also like to live in Wales. Close to my parents. Close to my sister. Close to my nieces so I can see them more often, spend time with them and share what I’ve learned with them. As I sit here crying at my desk I think I’ve hit upon what’s really making me sad. I think my loss of interest in sex might me a symptom of something deeper.

 

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Kidwelly Castle in the town my parents, sister and nieces live.

 

I miss those girls and I don’t want to miss out on being a part of their lives. Part of me thinks maybe I’m running away. Grandma and Grandad are getting older before my eyes it seems. I don’t think I can help them. They’re hurting on many levels and I don’t know what I can do to make it go away. Make it all better. And…I’m crying again.

So ideally. Grandma and Grandad will be all better. I’d suddenly get about £3-5k to be able to move to Wales, with my darling girlfriend if she’ll still have me after what I’ve just written. Rent a place, get a very cheap vehicle and keep us going while we get jobs. Even better, since I may as well dream big, I could have enough money coming in from writing to make it a full-time job capable of supporting us both and possibly even my sister and her kids!

I can’t do it yet, and certainly not all of it, but life is a negotiation. If you start with a realistic goal, you always end up settling for less. If we aim for perfect, which would have to include a miracle cure for old-age, then when we compromise it’s still going to be pretty good. If none of it works out, at least it will give me experiences I can write about, I’ll have other chances, and I will have led an interesting life by the end.

I am thinking of making a GoFundMe campaign for the move, I think. I’m going to talk it over with my other half first, and see if she’d be willing to make the move with me. It would mean leaving her own family behind. That wouldn’t be fair to her. I think I better think it out again.

 

 

Why Don’t I Just Quit?

I’ve actually been thinking about quitting writing quite a lot. Writing is hard work and takes up a lot of my time. I told myself that I needed to do this, for me, that no matter what. However, I’m beginning to worry that my friends and family see me as selfish and foolish, and would prefer that I give up this dream of being as well known an Author as Neil Gaiman, George R R Martin or Anne Rice.

My close family. My parents and my sister, are being very supportive. My Sister has even challenged me to finish Hermes925 by the summer, and I wouldn’t be able to muddle by at all if it wasn’t for the monthly financial assistance from my Mum and Dad. The rest of my family, however, have not become subscribers or shown much interest in my writing whatsoever.

I currently live with my Grandparents. I don’t expect them to become patrons, they are already doing more than enough by giving me a roof over my head and a place to sleep until I get back on my feet. They used to feed me too, but they can no longer afford too and I worry that I continue to be a drain on their budget. Their electricity and water bills must have gotten higher since I got here, especially with my girlfriend spending all her time here too.

That’s partly why I took the part-time job. I want to help out while I’m here, contribute to the bills and groceries. I’d still rather pay for it by writing, but the income from my Patreon.com page is only up to $15 (£11.95) per month. I also want to save up to get a better place for me and my girlfriend. I’ve seen gaming tables bigger than this room. I’m only working 2-3 days per week, but it’s already put a strain on my writing time.

 

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This was posted to Facebook the same day I was told I needed to do more chores.

 

I’ve been asked by several members of the family to help Grandma and Grandad with dishes, dusting, and other little cleaning jobs. This is completely reasonable and the least I can do for the generosity they’ve shown me. One family member has asked me to also begin taking over the larger jobs. Typically Grandad likes to do these jobs himself and has never asked me to help. However, I don’t want to further alienate my family.

I know some people manage to write entire novels in just 2-4 hours per week, but I honestly don’t know how. This blog is about the only thing I freewrite in one draft. Hermes925 always gets at least two drafts. The rough draft is written on paper first, purposefully forcing me to rewrite it when I transpose it to the computer. The second draft is always much better than the first. I usually rewrite it again when I transpose earlier entries for publication elsewhere. I’m currently behind on the story, but you can read the most recent entry here.

As you probably know, Hermes925 also drew the attention of Project UbiquiCity, and I have a story I’m writing for them. The current draft is due at the end of this month. It’s not going to happen. It would be logical, of course, to be working on that right now instead of writing this rant, but the writing process is seldom logical. I often find that a story I need to get written just isn’t coming to me, but another story, or an article, is screaming to get written instead.

I don’t mind much that the science-fantasy story (the one about a physicist that can see faeries) has been put on a back burner for now since I’m stuck. I haven’t had any idea how to proceed with the rough draft for weeks. I do feel like I need to start the second draft. Perhaps something will change in the rewrite that will solve the impasse. I don’t have time right now.

I’d also like to begin re-writing my ghost story. The original was a short story in the form of a single letter written by a man who has was so obsessed with ghosts that he researched how to become one, and then killed himself with the intention of haunting the story itself. I hoped to send chills down the spine of the reader. It didn’t work and it got rejected by the magazine I submitted it to. So I now plan to write a longer story about the investigators that find his mutilated corpse, and show the reader what it’s like to be haunted by this ghost instead of relying on their imagination. I don’t have time right now.

I need to prioritise UbiquiCity and Hermes925, and also make time to help my Grandparents more, and continue to work the part-time job at the Whitewater Hotel. There are som many ideas swimming around. Sequels for stories I haven’t written yet. Projects that would allow people who can’t, or don’t, read to experience my stories.  So many wild fantasies, including the idea that one day I’ll be able to afford a big house with rooms aplenty that family and friends are welcome to stay in.

 

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I just got my new work shoes!

 

It might be time to “grow up” and quit writing. I’d be letting down the patrons I already have for Hermes925, the Distractions from Drudgery e-zine that has agreed to serialise Hermes925, and the team of writers I’m working with on Project UbiquiCity. However, I’d also have the time to take care of my Grandparents like I’ve been asked too, to the best of my ability.

I feel guilty for even debating this. I have to take the selfless path don’t I? If I don’t sacrifice my own happiness for others, then I’m just a selfish jerk. I want nothing more than to be a writer, but I simply can’t afford too. I used to tell myself that if I focussed on my writing now, treated it like my full-time occupation, that I’d soon be able to afford to pay for a professional carer for my Grandparents, and give generously to other friends and family also. It’s not happening yet.

I am making progress. It seems like a waste, and a terrible shame to give it all up now. It’s become such a habit to get up and write, I’d feel lost without it. I imagine myself on the couch with the grandparents, watching their tv shows and silently screaming to myself that I’m not writing. It’s true that I could be scribbling away in a notebook during this, but I really really don’t want the shows they watch to influence my writing. I suppose I could try it.

I also don’t really feel qualified to do my Grandparents housework. I’m terrible at it. I always have been. It’s a bad excuse for not wanting to help my grandparents, but it’s nevertheless true. My room is, I’m told, typical of those who are creatively minded. It’s messy. Grandma and Grandad do a better job of keeping the house clean than I ever could.

Then there’s my girlfriend, who is often content to watch a movie, play a video game, or nap while I’m writing. What do I expect her to do while I’m sitting with Grandma and Grandad or doing their housework? If I change my habits like I’m suggesting and spend more time keeping my Grandparents company instead of being holed up in my room scribbling down ideas or typing, do I ask her to help me keep an eye on the Grandparents?

It seems that the logical thing since she has time to nap and play games would be to ask her to do my Grandparents housework. After all, if we were living together and I was supporting us both with my writing as I would like, then it would be her doing the majority of the housework. It seems like a shitty thing to ask, even if it would be a logical solution.

I could still sit with the grandparents, scribble down ideas or even type them up on my laptop. I could use an earbud in one ear (leaving the other ear able to hear) to listen to music on my phone, or even use my tablet to play a better background movie or tv show than the one they’re watching. I’d also be available to help with the cleaning if need be. Particularly if I want a break from writing for a few minutes.

I might be able to make this work after all, simply by moving my ‘office’ from my desk in my room to the living room couch. It just wouldn’t be very fun for my girlfriend. It would be far more sensible and hurt fewer people, to just put writing on hold for a few years. I fear though that if I do that, I’ll be trapped. Unable to ever afford to do more than working my arse off at job I get paid as little as possible for, only to see all the money disappear into credit card debts, and expensive (but much needed) trips and hobbies to break up the tedium of life.

 

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I used to play Warhammer 40k a lot.

 

All I want to do is write, but it can’t be all about me or what kind of man would I be? On the other hand, what opportunities would I be giving up on if I stopped now? Would successfully balancing my writing, my job, my relationship and my grandparent’s chores finally earn the respect of the family and friends who have yet to become patrons, or even read my work?

What do you think?

Have a great day 🙂

Fortune Favors The Bold!

I know that if I write every day and develop my craft that someday, organically, someone with some pull might discover me. However, I’m impatient to start living the life I want. With that in mind, I’m going to start some aggressive networking.

I’m not going to step in gingerly either. I’m going to reach out to people I truly appreciate and admire in movies, business, literature, art, music and other forms of entertainment, and try to make a great impression (yes I do consider business a form of entertainment). I took the plunge when I decided to become a full-time writer, I see no reason to break that trend.

 

For over a decade I’ve waited, putting my dreams on hold to build what I was taught to believe was a solid foundation. Marriage, house, career, etc. Only to find it all crumble beneath my feet and forcing me to return home to my family with my tail between my legs, my hopes dashed.

Until I realized that I have nothing to lose. I might as well go for it, aim high and see where I land. This is my first desperate bold attempt at joining the ranks of the successful as a writer.

You may just have stumbled upon this blog page at random, or even followed a link on Facebook or Twitter, but hopefully, you’re reading this because I reached out to you and asked you to. If you did, you are one of the people I admire and aspire to be like.

Please don’t be offended that this article doesn’t address you personally and that you’re not my only choice. I do realize that I may be shooting myself in the foot doing it this way, though. I know that you’d be more likely to respond and feel personally obligated to help me if I singled you out, and you alone, as the one person in the entire world that could change my life for the better.

However, it might also come across as a little stalker-like if I did. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I hope you don’t see my approach as too impersonal or too public. Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I just have to follow through and write the down the words,  and perform the actions, as they come to me.

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Here I am. A writer trying to finish his first book, living with my grandparents at age 36. Frustrated that I can’t afford to help pay for groceries or the Internet service I rely on, or take my girlfriend for a date, or indulge in my hobbies such as Warhammer 40k, Munchkin and Magic: the Gathering! I used to have large collections of all three, but circumstances have forced me to part with them.

I’d also love to help my friends, many of whom are struggling artists and writers themselves, and my family who have supported me so much and helped me recover from my failed marriage. Especially my Sister’s two wonderful daughters, who deserve the best chance in life I can afford to give them.

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I’m not asking for anything grand. I don’t expect to be suddenly wealthy beyond my wildest dreams. Your endorsement and/or patronage would be appreciated but isn’t required. I really just want this opportunity to present myself and my writing to you, and see what happens.

I’m currently working on a SciFi. It has elements of Orwellian dystopia and dark fantasy, and I’m really enjoying writing it. It’s called Hermes925 and you can read everything I’ve written for it so far under the Hermes925 tab of this website.

 

I also have a roleplay group I run on Facebook called City of Gate that has a small cult following, and another blog I collaborate with several of my friends on called Games and Geekery. I have a few other crazy ideas, mostly sci-fi and fantasy stories, that I’m choosing to keep on hold until I’ve finished Hermes925 (my Sister challenged me to get it on the shelves by June).

I’d love to develop my YouTube channel and do a podcast again also, but I lack the proper equipment, as you can see in the video above. I did briefly co-host a podcast called ‘The Masquerade‘ when I lived in America (I’m ‘The Brit!’). Sadly, for financial and emotional reasons, I had to come home to the UK before it bore fruit.

 

What do you do?
If you do nothing else but answer this question, I’d be so happy!

 

I have enjoyed your work. It would please me to no end if you enjoyed mine.

Have a great day 🙂

Lately, I’ve been putting paid subscription buttons on my articles. I feel particularly cheeky adding them on this one, but here we go:

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